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Kid in Tree
FoodCorps North Carolina

FoodCorps North Carolina

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One in four U.S. children struggles with hunger, while one in three is obese or overweight. Much of North Carolina faces statistics even more alarming than these national numbers. NC is ranked as the 10th most obese state in the US and the 2nd most food insecure.

Schools are poised to be the front lines in our nation’s response to childhood obesity: 32 million children eat school food–the source of half their calories–180 days of the year. What we feed our children, and what we teach them about food in school shapes how they learn, how they grow and how long they will live.

Enter FoodCorps.

FoodCorps is a national non-profit addressing the epidemic of nutrition-related diseases facing our children through:
〮Hands-on nutrition education
〮Hands-on school gardening
〮Increased local food pathways to school cafeterias.

Through the partnership between 4-H and the Center for Environmental Farming Systems, North Carolina is one of 10 states to help launch this Americorps-modeled program. Along with North Carolina, the host states in 2013-2014 include; Arkansas, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Oregan.

We envision a NC where children know what healthy food is, how it grows, and where it comes from, and who have access to it every single day. We envision children who are knowledgeable about the agricultural roots of our state. These children, immersed in a healthy food environment at a young age, will learn better, live longer, and liberate their generation from diet-related diseases.

We also envision a bright future for our service members: emerging leaders who will move on from FoodCorps to become farmers, chefs, educators and public health professionals. Armed with the skills to improve school food, these leaders will go on to improve the whole food system. We envision a world in which affordable, fair, healthy food is expected and enjoyed by all.

FoodCorps Service Members are highly motivated individuals who spend a year-long term of modestly paid public service in high need communities. FoodCorps also invests heavily in service members’ professional development. Rather than creating a new national infrastructure and imposing a one-size-fits-all solution from the top down, FoodCorps identifies local organizations that are already doing effective work on the ground, then arms these part- ners with the human resources necessary to increase their impact.

NC FoodCorps places motivated leaders in limited-resource communities for a year of public service. Working under the direction of local partners including Agricultural Extension offices as well as local non-profit organizations, all who work directly with schools in their district, we implement a three-ingredient recipe for healthy kids:

1. Educating through hands-on food and nutrition education using a variety of curricula and offering healthy food through snack programs, garden activities, and cooking classes/clubs;

2. Engaging with curriculum-based school garden programs where children learn, understand, and directly experience the health and wellness benefits of sustainable growing practices, and where garden teams bring parents and volunteers into a partnership with schools for sustainable programs;

3. Increasing Access by facilitating farm to cafeteria pathways through direct sourcing of local, sustainably grown produce into cafeterias; and supporting NCDA’s Farm-to-School distribution.

Additionally in NC we wish to leverage FoodCorps as a tool to build Farm to School capacity—not only in our FoodCorps NC service sites—but across the whole of our state.

We also hope to encourage NC emerging leaders to choose a year in FoodCorps service as a stepping stone into careers where they can immerse themselves in the food system providing direct action here at home in NC as well as in across the country in other FoodCorps states.

FoodCorps in NC is supported at large by the NC Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation, as well as through additional grants and donations from WK Kellogg, the North Carolina Master Gardener Volunteer Association, and many funders at the local site level.

For more information, contact the FoodCorps NC Program Co-Coordinators:
Liz Driscoll, North Carolina Cooperative Extension, 4-H, NCSU: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Tes Thraves, The Center for Environmental Farming Systems, NCSU: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

General Information

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Program Files

Read the FoodCorps NC winter newsletter to find out all the interesting projects across the state!View PDF

Program description of the FoodCorps North Carolina ProgramView PDF

PBS's Food Forward features Warren County's FoodCorps service member, Caroline Stover as she connects local farms to local schools and kids!View PDF

Watch the students at Aberdeen Elementary with FoodCorps Good Food Sandhills grow!View PDF

Shawna Fink's 3rd grade class in the Aberdeen Elementary School GardenView PDF